Learn how to paint this lovely old Tudor thatched cottage in oils with this easy to follow demonstration painting exercise.
Lesson 1 - Draw It Up
Most of the students drew this up on a 16" x 20" pre-gessoed canvas board.
As the thatched cottage is the focal point of the painting, I pencilled it in first using the box technique to position it in the composition. (By lightly pencilling in the box in which you place your focal point, you can instantly determine if it is in a pleasing position.)
Lesson 2 - Painting the Sky
I created a mix of Tasman Blue and white on my palette, together with a large blob of just white. By scooping alternate brush-loads of blue and white and dabbing them on to the board, it is a quick way of making a cloudy sky. Just make sure the blue gets lighter towards the horizon and feather off the colours into each other very lightly with a soft brush.
Lesson 3 - Background Folaige
We continued with the foliage in the background and then commenced
the thatched roof at the back. This has to be soft and slightly out-of-focus to keep it in the distance. Note that we are using the same colours to give a slightly purple look.
Lesson 4 - Thatched Roof
Before moving on to the front cottage, we quickly dabbed in the distant chimney using the same colours.
Make sure there is minimal detail, with soft edges and muted colour as this cottage is not part of our focal point.
To do the main cottage's roof, I brushed in all the different tones and colours to cover the white canvas.
I then went over it again, this time dabbing with thicker paint to give texture and body, as this is our painting's focal point.
At this stage I replaced the Tasman Blue with Ultramarine Blue for the darkest darks.
Lesson 6 - Blocking in the Walls
I introduced a new colour for the creamy walls of the cottages - Australian Grey. It's a very light colour and just gives white a slightly creamy look. Starting with the distant cottage, I filled in the wood with Burnt Sienna, Scarlet and Ultramarine Blue. Shadows on the wall and under the thatch was made with a mixture of the Australian Grey and purple. The shadow is very dark on the right-hand side as it is surrounded by the garden. Don't forget to darken the top of the wood struts to coincide with the shadow under the eaves. I blocked in the window with a dark Ultramarine and Scarlet and will fill in the white window frame when this is dry.
Lesson 5 - Chimneys
The chimneys were dabbed in with a mix of Burnt Sienna, Scarlet and Ultramarine Blue. Just outline the front chimney first, fill it in with the dark and light tones and make sure all the angles are accurate.
Then you can dab in highlights and darks and put some reds and purples into it.
Lesson 7 - Detailing the Windows
We've blocked in the windows with a mix of Ultramarine and Scarlet so that we can do the frames in white when they are dry. With the same dark mix of paint I detailed the wooden beams of the house then highlighted areas with a fine brush.
Lesson 8 - Covering the Garden Area With Green Tones
I dabbed in dark greens first, using Ultramarine Blue and Lemon Yellow. To go lighter, add more yellow rather than white, as white washes out the colour.
I then dabbed lighter and lighter moving to gently feather this into
the dark areas.
Before going too light (highlights will be last) I changed colour and used Tasman Blue - we need to have a variety of greens to make it look more natural. I started with the darks again and lightened it up with more yellow.
Lesson 9 - Adding More Shades to the Garden
Make sure the darks are painted in first (they can be very dark in the foreground for more depth). Flowers will be added later, otherwise you are going to end up with mud. I've introduced Cobalt to the mix. I'm also changing my brushstrokes for the variety of plants.
Lesson 10 - Painting the Flowers
Once the paint is dry we can add the flowers. Use your imagination with colours, keeping in mind that even the flowers need shadows and highlights to give them depth. Keep the background foliage soft and out-of-focus, sharpening up as you proceed to the middle foreground.
Lesson 11 - Creating Depth in the Garden
Now I'm working from the furthest bushes to the closest, so that the front ones overlap the ones behind. Remember to give less detail, colour and sharp edges to the garden at the back. As we come forward, we can use a fine brush and give the plants shape, lots of different colours and lovely dark darks for contrast
Lesson 12 - Softening the Peripherals
We gave the garden a break this week (it is quite a detailed process) and painted the thatched roof on the right. I wanted this roof to be out-of-focus so that the viewer looks past the roof, through the garden and onto our main cottage, which is our focal point. Soften the edge of the roof with a very light Tasman Blue mix. After painting the roof with lots of darks and highlights you can gently smooth off any sharp edges by going over the whole roof with a dry, soft brush.
Lesson 13 - White Wall and Paving
We finished painting the cottage on the right. I painted in the whites first, then the timber so that they could be feathered off slightly while the paint is wet. Remember to keep this cottage slightly out-of-focus, as it is not our centre of interest. Next the paving was done in a light purple mix, blending it into the foliage at the back so there were no hard edges. I roughly painted in the paving lines in a darker purple and feathered it off into the wet paint slightly with dark and light colours on my brush. You don't want the cracks to be flat, so in places they are darker and the colour is varied. I then painted in the bricks in front of the door, again slightly out-of-focus. I loosely dabbed in the greens, then flowers and kept dabbing them in until it was nice and soft.
Lesson 14 - Finishing Up
I put in more darks in the garden near the front, just dabbing here and there to create pockets to give a bit more depth. I used some new random colours for flowers to dot over any areas that were a bit boring. All it needs now is a signature and a varnish (give it about 3 months to dry) and a frame!
As you can see,
Barb has been quite detailed when drawing the cottage. Even though this building is very old and very crooked, we still need to have straight horizontal and vertical lines.
Although we use pre-gessoed canvas boards, we usually paint on at least 1 coat of acrylic Gesso, as it gives a cleaner surface and the paint works better.
Remember not to draw the lines too dark on your board or you may have trouble covering them later.
For the big background tree on the right, I put a small amount of Scarlet into the blue to make a slightly purple colour.
We want that tree to blend into the sky to give it distance.
I used a No.6 round brush to dab lightly into the wet sky.
By adding a little Lemon Yellow into the mix, we began work on the background trees.
As we move forward, we will introduce stronger colours and stronger tones but this is a good day's work for now
Don't be afraid to give dabs of pure colour e.g. light Tasman Blue, oranges and purples over your wet paint, this will give it vibrancy.
We just had time to paint in
the wooden beams of the front cottage with a purple (using the same colours of course).
We will play with them next week and add detail.
The photo is of a lovely cottage
in a village called Blewbury in Oxfordshire England.
Well, my gardens is scrappier but I really like this painting. Every part of this painting was a challenge and a shout out to Kath, one of the students who took this wonderfully picturesque scene on one of her travel adventures.